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Essence.com Interview – Aldis

Aldis Hodge on TNT’s ‘Leverage’

Sunday, August 15, 2010 | 8:00 AM

by Hillary Crosley


You may not recognize the name Aldis Hodge, but we’re sure you’ll remember his face. The New Jersey-cum-Los Angeles native has a resume a mile long, boasting roles on everything from “The Game” to “CSI,” and now he’s jumping into the third season TNT’s “Leverage,” which premieres this Sunday at 9pm eastern, as super geek Alec Hardison. ESSENCE.com spoke with Aldis as he drove around Southern California in his Prius and chatted about his key to success, playing a computer whiz and beginning his career as an ESSENCE magazine model.

ESSENCE.com: We heard you began your entertainment career as an ESSENCE model?
I was a little three-year-old kid and my older brother of two years Edwin Hodge went to do a job and they needed an extra kid. My mom asked me if I wanted to do it, at first I didn’t want to but then I remembered that she’d given me a Batman toy after a job, so I decided to get my Batman hustle up and start working. I actually remember the ESSENCE shoot and it was a good time, I felt like we were important because we were actually in a magazine!

ESSENCE.com: Season three of TNT’s “Leverage” premieres this Sunday, tell us about your computer nerd character Alec Hardison?
It’s funny because a lot of people think that I can do what he does… which couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve been able to explore my own creativity through this character, by building him into what I want with imagination. I feel like I’m hitting the playground every day with this job because I love the character and it’s been a collaboration with John Rogers, the show’s co-creator. In the beginning, Alec wasn’t supposed to be so outspoken but I’ve got a loud mouth and I improv and they let me. It’s a great working relationship that’s going on four years now.

ESSENCE.com: You’ve got a robust acting resume from “Private Practice” to “NYPD Blue,” you were even a voice in “Happy Feet!” How have you maintained such a strong career?
I’ll tell you how, it’s called being broke and not wanting to go back! It’s always a struggle and a fight because this business can be so aggravating, a lot of great actors don’t see the light of day. I’ve been fortunate along with my brother Edwin, who’s actually going to be in the remake of “Red Dawn” coming up, to build a reputation. Sometimes the work speaks to our credit, sometimes the reputation speaks to our credit, but people have been generous enough to give us the opportunity. Sometimes you have to fight for the opportunity. Even with “Leverage” I had to kick in the door because truth be told it wasn’t my job. Someone else was being considered and John Rogers went to bat for me and said ‘I think you really need to see Aldis’ and they agreed. Then when they did see me, they chose me but I credit that to a lot of God, a lot of talent and a lot of luck. I always credit my mom because she gave me my talent and I think if you do good work, it speaks for itself.

ESSENCE.com: How did your mother begin as you and your brother Edwin’s manager and agent?
At one time, I remember we were staying with my grandmother in New Jersey with 12 people in one house, my brother and I had to sleep in the attic. Of the 12 people, there were eight children so it was a mad house. But my mom made the decision to get us away from that. She was still working when my brother said he was going to act. She was trying to work and support his career at the same time without help from my father. She eventually decided to be our first everything, from an agent to a manager, but she was never a stage mom. She made sure we had a childhood and an education first. If you weren’t bring A’s and B’s home, you weren’t going to that audition. We really had to earn it because after awhile we understood that acting was something we truly wanted to do. Still, things were rough but mom never let us know. Even if she wasn’t eating, we always had a meal.

ESSENCE.com: Are you in a relationship, Mr. Hodge?
I am single, very single. No children, I’m still a child myself! Kids are definitely something I’m looking forward to in my 30s, having a couple juniors and doing my old man thing. But right now, I’m a young buck chasing money, when I have kids I want the money to chase me.

Source: Essence.com


© & TM Turner Network Television. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved. Photographer: Gavin Bond Aldis Hodge in LEVERAGE – SEASON THREE


A new episode of the hit series (‘The Underground Job’) airs tonight at 9/8c only on TNT

By CARL CORTEZ, Contributing Editor
Published 8/15/2010

For three seasons now, Aldis Hodge has played the inventive hacker Hardison on TNT’s hit heist show LEVERAGE (a new episode airs tonight at 9/8c). When Hardison first joined the team in Season One, he was very good working by himself, but slowly had to evolve into being a team player.

Now, the expert hacker has come into his own in Season Three as he has ambitions of being the head of his own “crew” one day. The series has also began to showcase the deeper side to his multi-faceted character, as well as delving more into Hardison’s past.

Hodge recently spoke to iF, in this exclusive interview, about Season Three, where the show is headed and being a beginner on the violin and tackling the complicated Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov composition “Scheherazade” in the early Season Three episode “The Scheherazade Job.”

iF MAGAZINE: Can you talk about Season Three and where you feel the team was at the beginning of it?

ALDIS HODGE: We came in and we were trying to be back on our game. Nate [Timothy Hutton] was in jail. After Nate did what he did to us, we were left out of the loop and we went back to square one, “how do we get this team together?” and “how do we get this to work?” and that’s what the first part of the season was.

iF: “The Scheherazade Job” was a pretty cool episode – do you play violin?

HODGE: I practice violin. I’m not prolific whatsoever. I practice and [LEVERAGE co-creator and executive producer] Chris Downey had told me a little while ago, “I want to write an episode where you play violin” and I said, “okay, let me know.” He came up with the episode, but the piece, “Scheherazade” is very tough to play, even for professionals. It far exceeded my skill. I was quite intimidated by the challenge, but I was very up for the challenge. It was a great script and it’s one of my favorite scripts so far this season. It was a very tough one to get down, but we had a lot of fun. It forced me to go a little deeper into understanding of the violin. It was a great episode. I was around real musicians and it inspired me to do my thing, even though I felt very intimidated. My skill, I’m a super beginner, and “Scheherazade” is super expert. But I worked hard with my violin teacher to get my fingering down and the timing.

iF: When did you start practicing and taking lessons?

HODGE: I got a teacher last year.

iF: The thing that was amazing about that episode, was the whole act that was just the music – literal a ballet of conning.

HODGE: The whole idea of that was amazing. That was a bold choice and a big chance for a series to take and not often do people push that limit. I can’t wait to push that limit even more.

iF: Before a season starts, do you start thinking, “what other accents do I have in my tool kit? What other things can I bring to the table and let the writers know I can do.” Or do you just take the challenges as they come?

HODGE: I’m always thinking about what’s coming next. We owe it to the audience. They expect something new and fresh and deserve something new. I know, throughout the breaks and throughout the middle of working, I’m doing that. Sometimes during the last minute on set, we get ideas, throw them in there, and say “this would be great.” So we could throw something in there any time on set, and my mind is always on, because I never stop thinking. I’m always thinking about how to take this to the next level. For me, doing a TV series, you may get the same characters throughout six or seven different seasons, but you’ll never have the same story. We grow as people in real life and that’s what we want for our characters too and we always try to bring something new for the audience to enjoy. If you ain’t got nothing new, what’s the point?

iF: Does the hypnosis thing become a bigger issue throughout the season?

HODGE: The hypnosis is a small piece to a big puzzle as far as what Nate is going through. Once you watch it, it speaks to his evolution as a character and as a mastermind – and what he went through in jail, his personal time, and where he’s making his next move. Definitely pay attention to it. It’s an important part of the story. It’s a pivotal part of the story, but it’s not the only part. There are many other pieces that build up to who Nate Ford has become and that’s one of the tip of the icebergs. It’s one of the first insights as to who he is.

iF: I really liked in “The Reunion Job”  where Hardison got to go against 1980s technology. It was fun to see Hardison get flustered with that kind of stuff.

HODGE: I could understand why he was flustered – that stuff was out way before I was born. Geez, I didn’t understand the language I was looking at.

iF: There’s been a lot of character building and background stuff with all the characters this year – has that been fun to explore?

HODGE: It’s definitely been more character-driven than story driven, because the audience is intrigued in finding more about who we are and why we are the way we are. We’re delving a little deeper and our relationships have grown. The relationship between Parker [Beth Riesgraf] and Hardison has matured and grown up since the first season and even the second season. There have been a few good episodes as far as Hardison, in terms of who he is, why he is the way he is and what’s going on with him. It may be a little set-up. Hardison has the ambition to run his own crew one day, so he’s learning and I think that’s all I can say to that.

iF: Will this wish of having his own crew have some sort of pay-off before the season is over?

HODGE: All I know is that’s Hardison’s ambition and that’s what he’s working towards. His mind frame is different this year. In the first season, he was “figuring out what job we’re doing and why we were doing it,” the second season was getting comfortable with that idea and the third season, he now enjoys what he does and why he does it and wants to keep giving it back. He wants to take over, when all is said and done.

iF: Is there still a lot of improvisation on set?

HODGE: From day one, we’ve always been allowed to improvise. We respect the foundation of the script, the story, the idea and we respect the words, but at the same time, the writers and the producers and directors respect us as actors, so they give us the space to create and do as much with the characters as we can. Personally, I don’t improv to take away. I improv only when I see an opening to add to a scene or add to the character’s style or to the character’s personality. I always make sure to respect what’s on the page. We’re allowed to improv, and it’s a good working relationship between the writers, producers, directors and actors. It only opens up the lanes for more creativity and even more fun, and it’s fun to watch when you’re working off that spontaneity. The audience can tell.


Source: IF Magazine

Hardison and Parker Soon Will Steal a Moment

‘Leverage’ Star: Hardison and Parker Soon Will Steal a Moment

by Matt Webb Mitovich
Jul 9th, 2010 

If there’s one thing that TNT’s highly enjoyable ‘Leverage‘ (Sundays at 9/8c) has over the ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ movies that precede it, it’s the sexually charged hints of somethin’-somethin’ between team members, be they Nate and Sophie or Hardison and Parker.

Will the hacker ever boot up actual romance with the thief? As part of this Fancast feature Q&A, Aldis Hodge shares a peek at a heist that might prove heavenly in that regard.

I have to wonder, how much violin did you need to learn for the last episode, “The Scheherazade Job”?
I know that whole solo. I only had to practice it to time it right with the prerecorded music. I play it terribly, but I play it!

Will the show revisit Nate and his new “hypnotism” skill, or was that a one-off?
There’s the possibility it might happen again. Nate is a different person this season, and we’re all still trying to figure out who he is since prison. I mean, the fact that he did it in the first place was pretty ballsy! You don’t con your own team. You don’t use your own team as a pawn.

Do your family and friends assume you’re savvy with a computer? Everyone thinks I’m computer-savvy! They’re just lines on a show, and I’m an actor, so I act like I know what I’m talking about. I’m very basic with computers…

You know enough to “tweet” once or twice a week.
Yeah, I forget about Twitter sometimes. Then I realize, “Wait a minute…” I’ve got to get with it.

Hardison is of course the team’s hacker. But what would you say his second-best skill set is?
He’s definitely had his moments as a grifter. As far as this team goes, that’s his next-best asset. And you know, he just might be a good planner, too.

I was watching video on Facebook of you with kali fighting sticks. Hardison could be a hitter!
I’ve been a martial artist since I was six years old. That’s my sport, man. I grew up fighting. Its weird now, people now assume I can’t move! That I can’t take a hit! Yo, I’m an actor. What I really do is get down now and then with the bare knuckles. I love fighting – as a sport. Not street fighting. I stay away from that at all costs.

That’s good for the writers to know, that in a pinch they could hand Hardison a broken pool cue and have him fend off a baddie.
Sadly I don’t think Hardison is very smooth with the fighting. He might break out a stick, but he might hurt himself in the process.

I get a lot of reader mail asking if things will ever “spark” between Hardison and Parker (played by Beth Riesgraf). Is anything coming up?
There’s definitely something coming up, in the episode on July 11, “The Double Blind Job.” You get to see a bit of a crack in Parker’s feelings for Hardison. She gets to understand more about who he is. But we can’t give the fans too much too soon. We’ve got to give them bit-by-bit, or there’d be nothing interesting about it.

Which of the upcoming guest stars do you get to work with?
Of course in the very first episode [of the season] we had my brother, Edwin Hodge. Coming up we have Malese Jow, who a lot of fans know from ‘The Vampire Diaries.’ We’re also shooting an episode with Wil Wheaton, who is reprising his role of Chaos….

Before we go, give us one last tease about what’s coming up for Hardison.
I’ll say this: I know a lot of fans dig the Eliot (Christian Kane)-Hardison relationship, and we have a couple episodes where were stuck together. In one, he and Eliot are stuck running through the woods all day… It’s a lot of fun.

Source: FanCast

EXCLUSIVE! ICYDK talks with “Leverage” star Aldis Hodge!

EXCLUSIVE! ICYDK talks with “Leverage” star Aldis Hodge!

I had the chance to talk with Aldis Hodge yesterday, star of the hit TNT show Leverage. I was super excited to talk to him, because Leverage films in Portland, Oregon, my hometown! I wanted to ask him a few questions about his experience in Portland as an artist, because besides being an incredibly talented actor – he’s also a painter!

Jocelyn: Hey Aldis; how are you today?

Aldis Hodge: Hey, I’m doing fine. Yourself?

Jocelyn: Not too bad. Well I’m a blogger from Portland, and I kind of wanted to ask you… I know you’re an artist as well as an actor. And I was wondering if you’ve had the chance to check out some of the arts here in Portland?

Aldis Hodge: I have. I have. I’ve been to just about every art gallery here at downtown.

Jocelyn: You’re a painter, correct?

Aldis Hodge: I am. I’m a painter. I’ve had a little bit of time to paint. I finished one painting since I’ve been here. It took me about two months to finish. And I’m trying to work on it but I just haven’t had the time to be diligent like I would prefer. I love some times just walking around checking out the (pics) because I get inspired myself. I get to see what everybody else has going on, and it’s nice to see what everybody’s perception of creativity is visually, you know?

And then of course the first Thursdays here which is the little art wall here every first Thursday of every month you go downtown, people display their art at the (rec).

Jocelyn: Right. That’s actually what I was going to ask you, if you’d had a chance to check out First Thursday?

Aldis Hodge: Every Thursday that I’m off in time to go, I go.

Jocelyn: Awesome! Well thank you for taking my question and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Aldis Hodge: Thank you very much.

Don’t forget to watch Season 2’s premiere of Leverage on TNT, Sunday June 20th at 9/8c!!

SOURCE: In Case You Didn’t Know

Two Cents and Five Questions for Aldis Hodge

You’ve probably seen him on a dozen different TV shows without knowing it – from Supernatural to Friday Night Lights – but Aldis Hodge has made his mark as wisecracking hacker Alec Hardison on TNT’s bustout hit Leverage.

Beginning its third season June 20, Leverage has already spawned its own convention and has even been the answer to a question on Jeopardy!. Hodge was kind enough to sit down with me exclusively on Friday to talk about what a ride it’s been and where he might be headed in Season 3.

TheTwoCents: This is what could be called your “breakout” role – describe what that’s been like for you.
Aldis Hodge: The show’s been great. I love my job, love what I do. It’s just a great opportunity to learn and to plan for what’s coming next. There are a lot of great people to learn from – Dean Devlin, John Rogers.

TTC: Talk about having to work with those mouthfuls of technical dialogue.
AH: It forces me to enunciate and speak clearly. John Rogers is a physicist so ninety-five percent of what I say, he can actually do. None of that bores me. I just try to make it as exciting to the audience as I can. Because the spy stuff – that really is interesting. It’s just getting it out tere.

TTC: What’s been your biggest challenge with this role so far? Is there anything you’d like to tackle that you haven’t yet?
AH: My biggest challenge was playing the violin. They wanted to write [that into an episode]. They didn’t tell me how difficut the piece was that I had to play. I’m still a novice with my instrument and the piece was pretty difficult. I practiced a lot. I think you might see that on our premiere night or our second episode.

TTC: In Season 3, are we going to see more of Hardison stepping out of the traditional hacker role like he did briefly in Season 2 (with “The Ice Man Job” and “The Lost Heir Job”)?
AH: Possibly. Hardison is on a bit of a different mission now. In the first season he was like why is he doing this job. [Now] he’d like to maybe run his own crew, so he’s taking his job a bit more seriously. He’s paying more attention to what everyone else does.

TTC: What’s ahead for the Hardison/Parker and Hardison and Eliot dynamics in Season 3?
AH: We have one great episode where Hardison and Parker go back and forth on their feelings. He’s been there with the puppy dog eyes trying to kick in her door and find out what she’s about, and she won’t let him. But there starts to be some understanding, and that maybe there’s something there for her, too.

[With Hardison and Eliot] I’ll just say there’s an episode where Christian and I are forced to be together the entire time. I was excited when I read it. I went to him and said, “I have some ideas,” and he was all “Let’s roll with it.” The audience knows they’re going to see us coming at each other and arguing and fun times. We enjoy doing it because we know what the audience likes.

TTC: Talk about the fans and the show’s explosion of popularity.
AH: We were all very surprised at that. We had a great time. We just had our first convention, which is something more for sci-fi shows, and we’re a spy show. We had the opportunity to meet our fans. We have a lot of people who support us, shooting in Portland, which is amazing. With a TV show it’s kind of a crapshoot, you hope that it works or you go on to the next one. But we have a lot of people who support us.

TTC: If you could play any other role on the show, which one would it be?
AH: I don’t know. I dig Hardison. He can break into people’s bank accounts and steal all the money he wants. Maybe Parker. Since she gets to do all the acrobatics and stuff.

TTC: So no more hanging you off anything in Season 3?
AH: You never know.

Leverage begins its third season Sunday, June 20 on TNT. The second-season DVDs are available now at all major retailers. Go pick them up – you won’t be disappointed. And a special thanks to Aldis for taking the time to chat with me about one of cable’s hottest series!

Brittany Frederick – Staff Writer

Source The Two Cents

The 10 Best Geeks (or Geek Teams) in Film and TV

The 10 Best Geeks (or Geek Teams) in Film and TV from TubeCentric written by Martin L. Shoemaker

1. We start with the uber-geek, the inspiration for all other geeks: Scotty (James Doohan). No matter the technical challenge Captain Kirk threw at him, he found a way to pull it off (and then spent days fixing the consequences after). Perhaps the ultimate Scotty exchange comes from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock:

Kirk: How long to re-fit?
Scotty: Eight weeks. But you don’t have eight weeks, so I’ll do it for you in two.
Kirk: Do you always multiply your repair estimates by a factor of four?
Scotty: How else to maintain my reputation as a miracle worker?

And anyone who really believes Scotty was padding his estimates, is missing the joke here.

2. It’s almost impossible to mention Scotty without mentioning his Next Generation counterpart, Geordi LaForge (LeVar Burton). Where Scotty works often by the seat of his kilt, Geordi is the consummate polished professional. Nothing in his engine room happens by accident. If the Federation hadn’t eliminated money, Geordi could probably run his engine room at a profit! This polish and professionalism causes him some consternation in Star Trek: First Contact when he meets his idol, Zefram Cochrane, and finds his hero has feet of clay – and a liver of gin!

I find Geordi very persuasive as an engineer geek, because he’s at the top of his game when he’s managing his engines, yet completely frustrated when he deals with people – female people especially. He’s so used to a world of forces and equations to balance them that he tries to bring that approach to his relationships with people. Yet when he relaxes and just is himself, there’s no more reliable friend anywhere on the Enterprise.

I also like the way Geordi programs the Enterprise computers: by speech, and by drawing and gesturing on a large panel. This is the wave of the future, fellow geeks, and it’s a lot closer than you may think!

Bonus geek: the aforementioned Zefram Cochrane (James Cromwell), a geek who’s burned out and would rather get drunk than deal with his work.

3. Leverage isn’t technically science fiction, perhaps; but it’s pretty close, thanks to Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge). His wondrous bugs and earphones and other surveillance devices are just a tad more powerful than anything you’ll find on (or off!) the market today. Oh, sure, most of what his technology does is possible – I can even do some of it myself – but Hardison’s technology always works faster and more effectively than real world stuff ever does. I have yet to see him spend all night chasing a bug. (Spending all night playing World of Warcraft, however…)

When he’s trying to con a mark, Hardison is probably the coolest, smoothest geek you’ve ever seen. He can fast talk like nobody’s business. Yet when he relaxes with his friends, he only thinks he’s cool. Actually, he’s transparently under confident, and compensating by boasting or getting defensive. Somehow that makes him more charming and believable.

Source: TubeCentric by Martin L. Shoemaker

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